Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services Issues 2018 Budget Report

On November 16, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services issued its Report on the Budget 2018 Consultation. As part of this process, the Committee spoke with a number of provincial arts, culture and heritage organizations, including the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture.

Below are the recommendations put forward by the Committee.

The majority of the report's recommendations around arts, culture and heritage came as part of Theme 12: Sport, Culture and Arts:

A number of organizations presented the Committee with a unified request to increase funding to both the BC Arts Council and Creative BC. Increased funding for the BC Arts Council would allow the organization to provide more grants to arts organizations or individuals, as well increase programming and core operational funding to non-profit arts groups. Many presenters stressed the need to ensure increased budgetary support for Creative BC to provide grants, programs, services and support for BC’s domestic creative industries. Organizations such as the Music BC Industry Association and the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of BC, as well as a number of regionally-focused arts and culture organizations, highlighted the value in providing support for local artists and those in the creative sector so that they can thrive and prosper close to home, while adding to the cultural vibrancy of their communities.

Representatives from Heritage BC and the BC Museums Association stressed the importance of continued funding for the heritage sector, including museums and cultural centres. Presenters noted the importance of preserving BC’s rich cultural history, and explained that these institutions can add value to communities by acting as teaching centres that contribute to reconciliation initiatives.

Around the subject of infrastructure, the committee noted:

A number of organisations, including the Professional Arts Alliance of Greater Victoria, Kamloops Art Gallery, and the BC Alliance for Arts and Culture, suggested the development of a capital arts infrastructure fund. Representatives from these organizations outlined the need for dedicated funding to build or maintain cultural facilities, including galleries, museums and community arts hubs in communities throughout the province. The establishment of such a fund could also aid arts and culture organizations to leverage funding opportunities offered by the federal government or through private sector supporters to build new facilities or upgrade existing infrastructure.

Pursuant to these concerns, the committee made the following recommendations (#113-#116; pp. 57):

Committee Members expressed appreciation of the intrinsic value of arts and culture and how these aspects enhance our communities and daily lives. To affirm their support, the Committee recommended increased funding to the arts and culture sector and creative industries through the various funding mechanisms outlined by presenters. Museums and cultural centres play a unique role in preserving BC’s cultural heritage and history. These institutions also have the opportunity to play an educational role in reconciliation initiatives and the Committee would like to see this continue through the provision of ongoing funding.

In addition, in Theme 9: Indigenous People, the report recommends investment in infrastructure to enable the delivery of public library services in Indigenous communities, as well as funding for public education initiatives at museums and other memory institutions to advance reconciliation through programming (#89-90, pp.45):

Noting the important role that public libraries play as community hubs and places to share knowledge and ideas, many public library boards advocated for investments in Indigenous communities. Many Indigenous communities have little or no library services, which inhibits opportunities to learn, discover, and create. In some cases, without specific agreements in place, residents of Indigenous reserve communities may be unable to access nearby municipal libraries, due to taxation and residency issues.

The BC Museums Association explained the importance of recognizing the unique histories and experiences of Indigenous people in BC, and advocated for investments that encourage museums and Indigenous communities to work together, as an important step to support and advance reconciliation.

In Theme 6: K-12 Education, the Committee recommends the following (#65, pp. 66):

Fund innovative and creative endeavours within the K-12 system, including the arts, graphic design, music and theatre in order to support the new creative economy.

To read the Report on the Budget 2018 Consultation, click here.

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